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Metro Vancouver brings in air pollution regulations for older diesel-powered non-road machines

Owners and operators of older backhoes, forklifts and many other diesel-powered non-road machines in Metro Vancouver have to register their machines in 2012 and start paying fees to comply with new air pollution regulations.

Emissions of diesel soot are responsible for two-thirds of the lifetime cancer risk from air pollution in the region.

In February 2011, after several years of studies and discussion, Metro Vancouver’s Board of Directors approved the Non-Road Diesel Engine Emission Regulation Bylaw. The bylaw comes into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.

The bylaw’s focus is older diesel-powered machines that are not used or intended for transportation on public roads. Non-road diesel engines include construction machines like excavators, as well as industrial and commercial equipment like forklifts and power generators. The bylaw addresses the harmful effects that diesel soot emissions have on human health locally and also addresses global warming caused by soot emissions. The bylaw will reduce emissions from older, diesel-powered machines that are often operated close to where people live, work and play. Reducing diesel emissions is the most important step we can take to improve air quality and public health in Metro Vancouver.

The bylaw does not apply to engines less than 25 horsepower, machines used in agricultural operations, emergency generators and personal recreational machines such as all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles. An on-line registry and payment system for non-road diesel engines is available on the regional district’s website, www.metrovancouver.org.

On January 1, 2012, machines with Tier 0 engines that are 25 horsepower or larger must be registered and labelled to operate in Metro Vancouver. The machine’s owner or operator must pay a fee for the period of registration. The initial fee, in 2012, is $4 per horsepower. The fee gives owners or operators a financial incentive to reduce pollution and rewards those who buy newer, cleaner non-road machines. Fees can be reduced or eliminated by reducing diesel soot emissions. Eighty per cent of fees paid over the previous three years may be refunded if an engine is retired from use in Metro Vancouver or upgraded to Tier 2 or better.

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